Last month I talked about shopping for a new horse. It looks like my patience paid off; R.L. Chartier found me a pony that fits. She was with another trainer and will stay there for now.
“Horseman.” This term, in my opinion, describes a person who understands and respects horses. He or she is completely comfortable handling, riding, teaching, interpreting, using and caring for the needs of a horse. This person navigates him or herself around the equine species with an aura of confidence and respect for the animal. A true horseman never has to characterize him or herself as such; that quality is immediately evident and recognizable to anyone who knows what it takes to be one. A horseman commands respect from his or her peers by action, accomplishment and knowledge, which places this person in a unique strata – apart from the general crowd in the horse world. Simply put, he or she stands out and apart from the rest.
Problem is, there are too few horsemen in the equine industry today. Many call themselves horsemen, but few actually grasp and express the concept, and even fewer possess the work ethic required to reach that plateau.
Squiggles is 6. We have won close to $20,000. It is mostly my fault it isn’t more. Buttermilk and I show aged events, so I need a 3-year-old. We raised him and his half-sister Piper, who aged out last year and is now bred. We are raising yearling and weanling relatives. There is a gap in our “raise them yourself” pipeline. I hate shopping for anything, but especially horses, and in particular unproven ones. It’s a gamble. Buttermilk’s poker-playing friends have asked me why I don’t play poker, too. “Don’t I like gambling?” I do like gambling, but I saddle my bets.
I generally dislike politics and politicians. There is no escaping them though. If you don’t pay attention to them, “they” don’t pay attention to you. For a fee, you can hire someone to do this for you. These people are called lobbyists. Some have titles that belie what they do, i.e. executive director of a non-profit trade organization. They still must register as a lobbyist. It is no job for an amateur. Or idealist. Or anyone who sees things in white and black.
My favoritest thing to do in Fort Worth, Texas, is turn cattle in a sale for horses under saddle. Candy and Jeremy Barwick are gracious enough to humor me in this adventure. I work cheap.
The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Convention happened in June in Grapevine, Texas, the home city for DFW Airport and a “ring city” to Fort Worth and Dallas. Fort Worth is the “FW” in the “DFW Metroplex.” The census people are currently without a good definition for exactly what the DFW Metroplex encompasses. The official area number is 7 million souls. Operating on the “what touches mine” theory, the number is close to 8 million, which is a manure load of people. We live in an unincorporated area of Tarrant County, with a Fort Worth address. It was an hour drive to the convention. We stayed at the hotel. Short story, we live here and had to travel.
We moved to a new place a while back. I was waiting on the old place to close before I built my new shop. I crammed as much as I could into the existing three-stall barn. Since I own every tool known to man, it looked like 30 pounds of manure in a 10-pound sack. Then the rains came. And came. I have been running around like a head with my chicken cut off trying to get organized enough to function. So, when the nice, hysterical lady called with a horse down, hung up in the wire fence and bleeding, it was a welcome break. It was also an opportunity I badly needed. I’ll get to that later.
Buttermilk sent a link on Facebook one Tuesday night. She said she would like to go see some guy named Chris Botti. She likes those fancy singing guys. I’m not fancy and can’t sing, so we go see people who can. I went online, got two tickets for Saturday. Since Buttermilk is always right, I didn’t even check out this Botti. By the grace of God, third row, center. Well, he isn’t a singer. He plays trumpet. He’s one of the greatest in the world. It brings to mind people like Gerald Alexander. If you are in the business, everyone who seeks out the best knows him... respects him... is in awe of him. Mr. Botti attracts talent like money does politicians. His band is made up of people who are world class in their own right. One hundred fifty minutes of awesomeness.
At long last, welfare issues have come front and center in the minds of equine organizations.
My part of the Lucas Oil National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes, as far as showing goes, is over. It did not go well. My fault. I cut a bad cow once and cut bad next. Both preventable. The bad cow might not have been bad if I had cut her second or drove her out farther or, or, or... you know. We picked her together and had consensus. I ate steak that night to get even. The second cow got a step on me. Yellow baldy. My choice was chase her into the corner or switch off, counting on all five judges’ eyesight to fail. It did not. I got hit with a switch. Never got a chance to show my horse because of decisions I made or agreed to before I ever left the cow boxes.